Friday, 24 April 2009

Career Dreaming

An email I got following the Career dreams post asked me if I am anti-Career Dreaming.

I can see where the question came from because 'Career Dreams' could read like a negative post. After all, it is about someone following a dream and for one reason or another, the dream didn't work out.

I'd like to respond to this question openly. So, here's why the 'Career Dreams' story is positive and why I am a positive supporter of Career Dreaming!

[Objectif Lune - A badly photographed study of positive, practical dreaming]

I read that Aldous Huxley said, "Dream in a pragmatic way." I don't know why but this just stayed with me. It told me that dreaming was good but practical dreaming was better. And I listened because Huxley was an idol of mine at the time.

The same 'practical dreaming' thought is behind the example of the windsurfer in the 'Career Dreams' post. Becoming a windsurfing instructor was a great, individual career dream but it should have been supported more pragmatically at the time. Especially since professional career advisors were involved.

Instead of encouraging him to set up his own windsurfing school, his career advisors could have supported his research before he made the jump. More practical, decision-focused support could have got our friend to find people who have made the same change before him and ask them face-to-face about the reality of their careers.

For example, I might have suggested he talk to the instructor who taught him to surf. To ask him what qualities made him successful. To test and explore in a more grounded way and try his new working lifestyle for size before committing to it. Would it still be the windsurfing that gave him the buzz or would it be seeing his students grow and learn?

Such questions support career dreaming positively and practically. Maybe they could have saved our friend a lot of time and energy. Maybe he would have made the same decision in the end but he would have done it with a better understanding of what he was getting into. Yes it would be cold and wet but he would be prepared for that. Maybe he bought a thicker wetsuit for those cold winter lakes?

None of us know what might have happened but whatever the alternative reality, I argue the case for practical support that protects and safeguards an individual's reserves of enthusiasm for his or her career.

I want to thank my questioner for their email. On refelection, there was some regret in my previous telling of this story. Maybe that regret sounded negative because there was time and energy that could have been saved if the right support was available first-time around.

Happily, my feelings of regret don't last long because I know that every career experience counts. I know that if he could be helped to dream again, even our ex-windsurfing school owner/entrepreneur could apply all of his career experiences - good, bad and indifferent - to move his career forward in a direction he will find fulfilling.

To everyone who can (and that is anyone who wants to) Keep Career Dreaming!

Have a great weekend wherever you are!



  1. Right on. I read your previous post, I guess I'm just really more of a positive thinker so I thought your post was more on the positive side. I'm one of those people who want a career--a calling--rather than a job.


  2. Welcome Imee and Thanks for your first time comment here!

    I'm glad to hear that you read Career Dreams positively too. Always a delight to hear from someone seeking a calling for their career and not just a job!

    It's small and a bit leaky but we're in the same boat :)

    All the best for now,


  3. Whether you dream pragmatically or completely unbridled...I think the most important thing I have to remember is to apply myself and KEEP moving towards my dreams instead of hanging in the clouds or even just planning and coordinating pragmatically. For me, nothing is worse than getting excited about my dreams and then never taking that hardest first step to begin my journey! as Paul says, 'every career experience counts'...for me its not whether i make it, but that i am trying and living in the process.

  4. There are powerful words in there Kyle,

    I also agree that the first step is often the hardest & bravest one to make. Especially as you move towards goals that mean something to you.

    If I have any message in return for you it is this. Experience is hard earned but it offers us the evidence to test empirically and apply the understanding we gain to make sure our progress is safe, steady and sure.

    The rest is for anyone else reading and dreaming: Always remember you have people who care about what happens to you. People who want you to do well. These people are your partners as you make progress and they consider it their job for you to lean on them for help every now and then. You know the people I mean. True partners. Always faithful. Semper Fi as the Latin goes.

    Thanks for your comment here but do me this favour and next time leave the pictures to professionals like Saundra ;)

    All the best for now,